Language is constantly changing and evolving with time and societal changes.  Terminology in the gay community has been evolving for years as new movements have taken place and people have begun to explore different areas of sexuality and gender; deconstructing the norms that society had previously put in place.  In order to fully understand the words that we use we should also understand the history behind them, especially in relation to the LGBTQ community.  Where did this acronym come from?  What is its history?

                Before the 1960s a common non-derogatory term for the gay community did not yet exist.  During the 1950s and 1960s homosexual was used but it held negative connotations and was often replaced by homophile.  During the rise of the sexual revolution in the 1960s the term gay became appearing more and more to encompass the entire community but was soon broken up into either gay or lesbian.  This initial divergence in the community occurred during the 1970s feminist movement when feminists began to see the need to separate from men so that they could fight for their rights as women.  Within this new community there were also disputes about whether lesbian was sexual or political.  The over arching theme of the second wave feminist movements was that the “personal is political” and therefore being a lesbian became a political identity to connect women of the movement rather than a sexual identity that was taken seriously.

                During the same time that the lesbian identity was being “defined” by the feminist’s movement the arguments revolving around the inclusion of bisexuals and transgender people into the community was becoming heated.  During this time many people in the community considered transgender folks to be trying to conform to stereotypes and bisexuals were simply gay men and women who were to afraid to come out.  During the 1980s there was a shift to the inclusion of bisexuals and the term “LGB” was brought into common use.  It wasn’t until the 1990s that the “T” was added to create the now commonly used “LGBT” and in the late 1990s a “Q” was added to identify queer or questioning members of the community.  Today, LGBT and LGBTQ are in commonly used as inclusive terms that encompass the entire community rather than exclusively referring to gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people.

At Pride and Joy we are strong believers in the inclusion of all identities into the LGBTQ community and strive to make our store a place where all people feel welcome and are able to find a piece of their identity on our shelves or our website.